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I am fascinated by the modern contradictions of freedom and control. Home is Denver, formerly Detroit, Tokyo, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, and more. From gas station night attendant to English professor, I have worked over thirty jobs. I am a multi-genre author, with short stories, personal essays, lyric essays, and poetry published in literary magazines like Iron Horse Literary Review, Heavy Feather Review, Mikrokosmos/Mojo, and more. The Best American Essays 2018 listed me as a Notable Essayist. Currently, I am revising my dark, speculative novel exploring themes of techno-optimism and pain, as well as working on an essay about my three year living-nightmare of Long Covid. 

 

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My writing’s primary fascination is in the modern contradictions of freedom and control. To me, the immense American pressure to act normal, to be fine, to keep working, is an ongoing tension with infinite explorations. Labor, and its role on identity, is a frequent theme in my work, inspired by my Rust Belt and Appalachian upbringing. 

Currently based in Denver, Colorado. If I trace my life from the beginning: Dallas, Detroit, three foundational years in Tokyo, then Buffalo, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Idaho, Wyoming. I received my MFA in Fiction from Boise State University and a BA in Creative Writing and History with a Photography minor from Carnegie Mellon University. I am a multi-genre author, with short stories, personal essays, lyric essays, and poetry published in literary magazines like Iron Horse Literary Review, Heavy Feather Review, Mikrokosmos/Mojo, and more. The Best American Essays 2018 listed me as a Notable Essayist for my lyric essay, "Gaijin," on the difficulties and loves of belonging between two countries. 

In my fiction, I often turn to unusual perspectives and experimental points of view to tell stories in opposition. Characters are inspired from my own collage of a life from long-haul truck drivers to women escaping extreme religion across the West. My fiction uses dark humor and powerful imagery to question capitalism, technology, and toxic masculinity in ways that let the reader ask new questions of their world and care for characters beyond familiar tropes.

Truth is crucial. It is not unusual for me to both dive into academic scholarly databases and travel to a location so that I can capture a ‘feeling’ for the same project. For my MFA thesis, I happily watched documentaries about emerging antibiotic-resistant diseases to understand bodily reactions and researched the flora along the freeways my characters drove.

The past few years of extreme climate change denial and anti-environmental policies in the United States have made me re-prioritize the role of nature in my own work. I feel energized and devastated to explore writing in this avenue with even more purpose than I have in the past. 

Currently, I am revising my dark, speculative novel exploring themes of techno-optimism and pain, as well as working on an essay about my three year living-nightmare of Long Covid. 

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All photography by Jackie Sizemore, contact for permissions